In the Matter of: Philip H. Chamberlain, Respondent.
Respondent Pro Se Philip H. Chamberlain Bloomington, Indiana
Attorneys for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary
Commission G. Michael Witte, Executive Director David E.
Griffith, Staff Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorney Discipline Action Hearing Officer Christine Talley
that Respondent, Philip Chamberlain, engaged in attorney
misconduct by committing the crime of counterfeiting. For
this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent should be
suspended from the practice of law in this state for at least
three years without automatic reinstatement, effective from
the date of this opinion.
matter is before the Court on the report of the hearing
officer appointed by this Court to hear evidence on the
Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission's
"Verified Complaint for Disciplinary Action."
Respondent's 1990 admission to this state's bar
subjects him to this Court's disciplinary jurisdiction.
See Ind. Const. art. 7, § 4.
Background and Facts
endorsed a check payable to a third party, siphoned off $10,
000 for himself, and provided the payee with a cashier's
check for the remainder. Respondent did this without the
payee's knowledge or permission. As a result, Respondent
was charged with, and eventually pled guilty to,
counterfeiting. Respondent was ordered to pay $15, 000 in
restitution to the victim, although that amount later was
reduced to $10, 000. Despite the ability and professed intent
to make restitution, to date Respondent has paid only about
Respondent was convicted, the Commission filed a "Notice
of Finding of Guilt" on March 14, 2013, and we issued an
order on June 11, 2013, suspending Respondent on an interim
basis. See Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule
23(11.1)(a). The Commission filed a "Verified Complaint
for Disciplinary Action" against Respondent on October
28, 2013. Thereafter, Respondent sought and was granted a
stay of these disciplinary proceedings pending resolution of
certain proceedings in his criminal case. On November 7,
2016, we issued an order lifting the stay. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the hearing officer filed her report on
September 6, 2017.
Commission alleged, the hearing officer found, and Respondent
admits violations of Indiana Professional Conduct Rules
8.4(b) (by committing a criminal act that reflects adversely
on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer) and
8.4(c) (by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,
deceit or misrepresentation). We likewise conclude that
Respondent violated Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c) as charged.
has petitioned for review, challenging certain findings in
aggravation made by the hearing officer as well as the
hearing officer's rejection of two mitigating factors
proffered by Respondent.
hearing officer found the following six facts in aggravation,
of which Respondent challenges the first three: (1) the
victim was vulnerable; (2) Respondent has refused to
acknowledge the wrongful nature of his misconduct; (3)
Respondent has been indifferent to making restitution; (4)
Respondent's misconduct was illegal in nature; (5)
Respondent's misconduct was due to a dishonest or selfish
motive; and (6) Respondent has substantial experience in the
practice of law.
ample support for the hearing officer's comprehensive and
well-reasoned findings. In his own testimony, Respondent
described the victim as a "broken man" at the time
Respondent met him, which was shortly before Respondent
committed the acts underlying his criminal conviction. (Tr.
at 122). Although Respondent pled guilty, he has spent many
of the intervening years denying that he committed
counterfeiting and filing multiple collateral attacks,
including an "Amended Motion for Relief [from]
Judgment" filed in the criminal court shortly before
final hearing in this matter in which Respondent alleged that
his guilty plea and restitution order resulted from fraud and
misconduct by the victim, the prosecutor, the judge, and the
Indiana Securities Division. (Comm'n Ex. 47). And
finally, the numerous promises made by Respondent over the
years to pay the restitution, his failure to honor those
promises despite an ability to pay, ...